To Paris COP21 with an agroforestry message
Our changing climate and burgeoning population urgently needs agricultural techniques that can produce more on less land and with fewer inputs, while keeping the environment healthy. As such, sustainable agriculture that brings climate adaptation and mitigation benefits is one of the issues to be tackled at the 21st UN climate conference (COP 21), which kicks off in Paris today, 30 November. (See www.worldagroforestry.org/cop21 for the full program of ICRAF’s activities at Paris COP21).
Agroecological practices such as agroforestry, which involves integrating the right trees and woody shrubs into agricultural landscapes— are an important part of the solution. The trees to use for agroforestry can be selected so they deliver products and services that improve not only farmers’ lives and countries’ economies, but also the environment.
The right trees in the right place have been shown to build farmers’ resilience to climate-related shocks such as unpredictable and extreme weather; they do this both by diversifying income sources, and by providing environmental services such as soil improvement, flood control and wind shelter. This is in addition to producing fresh air and bringing beauty and biodiversity to living spaces, which promotes human health and well-being. Sustainable, environmentally-friendly food and fuel production is possible with agroforestry. And by bringing the products and services people need from trees close to human habitats, agroforestry can reduce harvesting pressure on forests.
Trees store carbon in their trunks, leaves and roots. This carbon capture contributes to reducing the level of emissions—particularly of carbon dioxide and methane— from farming. Experts estimate that a quarter of all global greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture.
At Paris COP 21 World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) researchers will participate in various events, presenting evidence on the many ways in which trees in agroforestry systems benefit people and nature. They will discuss various tools that can be used to measure trends in ecological health, as well as best practices in landscape restoration with trees.
Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)
In the lead up to COP21, countries have stated their commitments to pursuing a low-carbon, climate-resilient future, articulated as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to combat climate change. These commitments include reforming agriculture sectors to become more climate-smart. (Agriculture is considered to be “climate-smart” when it contributes to increasing food security, and raises climate adaptation and mitigation in a sustainable way.)
ICRAF continues to work with several tropical and sub-tropical countries in their efforts to successfully engage with national and international climate policies. These include Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), Reducing Emissions through from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), National Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs), and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs).